Hungry for meaty balls? How about a greasy wiener, a pink taco or some hot "wangs?" These 10 Los Angeles restaurants not only satiate these cravings, but pique the public's interest with their creative identities. Do they mean to offend their way to your heart? Or do you just have a dirty mind?
From the streets of Hollywood to the suburbs of Santa Clarita, you've likely been to or at least heard of the hot wing chain Big Wangs, whose motto is "size matters," with a logo of a yellow, bicep-flexing rooster.
"It comes from the saying 'aint no thang like a chicken wang," Big Wangs Hollywood manager Ashlee Buchanan says. "That's the pun."
As a sports bar for people of all ages (at certain times of day), you'd think they'd receive at least a few strongly-worded letters from concerned parents, but Ashlee reveals that they've run into more confusion than controversy.
"The biggest thing is people think it's a Chinese restaurant," Ashlee says. "Some people also thing it's a gay bar."
While definitely not a Chinese restaurant with its nachos, burgers and something called a "wangzookie," any place could arguably be a gay bar depending on the company you keep. But whatever "wang" means to you, here sports fans fight for tables to watch twelve sporting events at once while chewing on some hot, spicy wangs -- all the way down to the bone.
The term "slut" really doesn't leave much room for interpretation, but Egg Slut co-owner Hazel Suazo explains why her food truck's name doesn't actually refer to an unfertilized chicken fetus with daddy issues.
"Alvin and I, the owners of Egg Slut, have always been egg sluts," Hazel says. "In fact, eggs are truly my one true love and favorite food. I eat eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner and with any dish. When I was a kid and my mom made a dish that I didn't particularly care for, adding an egg was literally the only way to get me to eat it."
According to Hazel, the expression "egg slut" is actually a label among foodies these days. "An egg slut is someone who loves eggs so much, they can eat them all day, all night, wet, hard, coddled, easy and with everything," she explains.
"Our name has definitely become a conversation piece," Hazel continues. "Sometimes people can't believe we really exist. We knew the reactions we'd receive would be mixed -- either people get it or they don't."
Interestingly, Hazel says she hasn't received any negative feedback for the derogatory term plastered across her restaurant on wheels, although some patrons say they feel uncomfortable ordering their signature dish: The Slut, a coddled egg over potato puree, served in a glass jar and garnished with grey salt and chives.
In fact, Egg Slut has been commissioned for corporate events, marathons, private parties and has even been requested for school fundraisers. "School fundraisers invite us to their food truck events sometimes, but we realize that while the invitee may be open to the name, we don't want to risk offending families and kids in general."
Way to run around town responsibly, Egg Slut.
These days, everyone seems to be getting shaved... ice, that is. Get Shaved isn't a beard-grooming facility or a video store specializing in certain fetishes. It peddles Hawaiian shave ice, not to be confused with the run-of-the-mill carnival snow cone that's too hard to bite into and drips all over your wrist. Hawaiian shave ice melds the smooth, richness of ice cream with the refreshing, lightness of ice, to cool down your burning loins... because your thighs are chafing in the Northridge heat, of course.
Co-owner Kristin Roskowick says Get Shaved was inspired by her brother's boot camp business, Get Some. "We thought it would be cool to have a couple of 'Get ____' family businesses," Kristin says. "Plus it was a funny play on words. A lot of times people think we cut hair initially, but then when we tell them that it's shave ice they usually chuckle a little." Seems they might chuckle a lot after checking out the menu, where you can order a Monkey Nut, Sour Puss, Punch Me, Blue's Passion 4 Coco, Dew Dew and the list goes on.
It all started at a restaurant in Tucson, Arizona -- Adam Dragotta worked in the kitchen cooking hot dogs and joking about opening up his own place someday called "The Greasy Wiener." But what was originally a hilarious pipe dream turned into a serious venture when Adam began selling "Greasy Wiener" t-shirts, which lead to a vending cart and finally to the truck known today as The Greasy Wiener. So, why greasy wiener? The answer is simple.
"It's a fried hot dog," Adam says. "So, it's a greasy wiener.
"People assume what they want to assume, but it's not supposed to offend," he continues. "It's literally a hot dog, deep fried. And actually, we've received good responses from it so far."
Whether it's zapping it in the microwave or thrusting it into a camp fire, there are endless ways to cook a hot dog, but The Greasy Wiener is all about lubing up its links in the deep fryer. "That's how they cook hot dogs in my hometown in New Jersey," Adam says. "It makes the hot dog really juicy."
We'll let The Greasy Wiener slide. It's definitely a catchier name than "The Fried Hot Dog."
Great Balls on Tires
If you're hungry for some balls, look no further than Great Balls on Tires, wherever it may be that day. Owner Clint Paralta happily explains the gourmet food truck's namesake and how he deals with people who say "goodness gracious" at the site of his mobile eatery.
"Great Balls On Tires came from Jerry Lee Lewis, of course," Clint says. "It wouldn't make any sense otherwise. We have a meatball-centric food truck, but instead of calling it The Meatball Truck, we sought for something more creative. Unfortunately, people tend to focus on what's easier, which is to pervert it instead of embracing the creativity with the names of our food. "
"The reactions run the gamut from 'you have the best name for a truck' to crass innuendo and everywhere in between," Clint adds. "Our concept is predicated off of the word 'ball.' It's food in the form of a ball found in every culture and beyond. We don't tweet, Facebook or post anything derogatory. We love food and are having a ball doing it and once you taste our food, the innuendo disappears. It's that incrediBALL."
Me So Hungry
If you're old enough to read this, then you're probably someone who knows the 1989 hip hop hit "Me So Horny," hopefully with fondness. It's an anthem of humanity, really. So when you see a black truck driving around town emblazoned with a big, green monster saying "mmmm tasty," alongside text reading "Me So Hungry," you'll probably hum a few bars.
"I was with a buddy of mine," Me So Hungry president Mike Ewing explains. "His wife actually threw out the name when we were trying to come up with one and I really liked it."
Has Me So Hungry made patrons blush over their burgers? Or are they too distracted taking in the tastes and aromas of marinated short ribs, Gorgonzola cheese sauce and garlic Parmesan fries?
Mike says since its opening in 2010, it hasn't received any complaints, about sexism or racism.
Anyone who's anyone in Los Angeles has seen Pinches Tacos from the Chateau Marmont across Sunset Boulevard. You can't miss it, especially if you know Spanish slang. The term "pinche" translates into an English curse word that starts with an F, but catering manager Jorge Anaya schools us on the term's actual meaning.
"During the Mexican Revolution, one of my uncles was a cook for Pancho Villa," Jorge explains. "The original meaning of 'pinche' is actually 'sous chef,' so it's named after him."
Pinches Tacos is a family-owned establishment with Mexican recipes that Jorge says date back 150 years. Their extensive menu serves burritos, tortas, enchiladas and everything in between until 3:00 a.m. on the weekends, perfect for people stumbling out of Sunset Strip bars, drunk out of their pinche minds.
So has this mom and pop taco shop seen much push-back for its bold name? "Absolutely," Jorge says. "It's just one of those things. But we don't take life too seriously, we take tacos seriously."
Unless you live beneath a rock or don't travel west of San Vicente, Pink Taco is an L.A. household name, especially since Posh Spice reportedly threw her son's birthday party there once. I don't know about you, but the thought of entering a pink taco with a capacity of 300 people doesn't sound all that appetizing. So what's with the suggestive name of this Tex-Mex joint at the mall?
"It comes from our signature dish, The Pink Taco," Century City manager Tom Reiner says. "It has caramelized onions that are pink when they come out."
Tom says since he's worked there he hasn't run into any issues regarding the restaurant's name and has no thoughts on the matter. "Nope. No thoughts at all."
In Studio City's pristine Tujunga Village is a charming little dessert shop owned and run by a lady so sweet, you feel a sugar rush right as you walk through the door. But it's not your average dessert shop -- it's an ice popshop, one of only a handful in the world. And it's called Suck It.
"It's an ice pop shop, so what better name?" owner and chief suckologist Kaileigh Brielle asks. "How else would you eat them?" Well, you could, if we're getting technical, lick it, bite it or pop it.
But Suck It isn't just the shop's name. It's an entire experience. Suck It sells Sucksicles, homemade gourmet ice pops crafted without added sugar or flavoring, and all are gluten free. A rotation of 100 flavors run the gamut from cherry pie and root beer float, to grapefruit jalapeno and dill pickle. Sucking on a Sucksicle makes you a Sucketeer, and you can even take home a Sucketeer stamp card for a free Sucksicle, compliments of Suck It's chief suckologist. You can also call the store to check on daily flavors at 818-980-SUCK.
Did you get all that?
However, Suck It did receive some pushback from the community when it opened its doors.
"One neighbor was offended by the name but I think when you meet me and see who I am and what I'm about that it's a really fun place," Kaileigh says. "It was never intended to be where this person took it. And, I mean, 'suck' isn't a bad word so the implication would be on 'it,' and if you've got a problem with 'it,' well, there's not much I can do for you."
Suck on that, haters.
Sounding more like a place someone named Thunder Spank would frequent, Toe Bang is a Korean restaurant in the midst of, you guessed it, Koreatown. And, the proper pronunciation is tow-bung. Even better.
According to Toe Bang's manager, Kevin Lee, the restaurant has been open for 13 years and hasn't received much flack for its name, which may be attributed to its location where most everyone speaks Korean. It's the non-Korean speakers who giggle about it, which Kevin finds funny. But before you take off telling your friends about Toe Bang, just for an excuse to say it out loud, Kevin explains its real meaning, which is quite far from the gutter in which your mind is now floating.
"Toe bang is a type of traditional, folk-style architecture," Kevin says. "In Korea there is a famous folk village, a preserved ancient village. The restaurant's theme is modeled after it."
If you've got a hankering for soju and Korean-style bar food in an ancient Korean-inspired setting, head on over to Toe Bang and don't be afraid to chuckle -- they don't care. Now's your chance to say, "Who wants Toe Bang tonight?"
By now you're probably tickled or aghast by the nerve of these places, but either way, you're mid-text with a friend planning a night to Suck It or Get Shaved sometime this week. It's hot out there these days.
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